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Fans enjoy the whole Brier experience at the Patch

Teams knocked out of the finals have some fun
Reported by Justin Blackwell
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Many long-time curling fans will say that no Brier experience is complete without a trip to the Brier Patch.

"It's just part of the whole experience," said E.J. Harnden, the third on the Northern Ontario team.

"It's something you don't get on T.V. when you're sitting at home. It's the experience with the players and the fans that you don't see with a lot of different sports. It's something that's unique and really special about curling."

The Saskatoon Brier Patch is the largest in Canada and people looking for a party will have to go no further than its location just down the street from the Credit Union Centre at the Saskatoon Training Centre.

With a mixture entertainment, food, drinks and the mingling of fans and players, Harnden said people have to make some time for the "best party in curling."

For many fans, it's all about the people.

"The best part of the Patch is probably all the people you run into from the Patch before. I've probably got 25 for 30 people in here that I've known for years," Roger Kessler, from Revelstoke B.C, said looking around the room Thursday night.

"(It's about) the fellowship, getting together with people from other provinces you really feel proud to be Canadian," said another Patch fan, Janice Wainright, from Northern Ontario.

The party was cranked up a little more Thursday night as many of the teams knocked out of the playoffs converged on the Patch for some fun.

And with alcohol fueling the party, the Brier Patch had a little dancing and a little nudity.

In this case it was the fit players of Harnden's Northern Ontario team that were coaxed into doing a little dance routine that included taking their shirts off - much to the delight of many female fans.

Harnden was asked the chances that his wife would see the video.

"Oh god, I hope not," said Harnden, with a smile. "I hope the chances are very low."

The party at the patch continues through Sunday night.

jblackwell@rawlco.com